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Canadian workplace safety metric gets Australian OK

An Australian research team has tested a Canadian practical survey tool that aims to help employers improve health and safety in the workplace – with promising results.

WorkSafe Victoria asked the research team to try to identify a simple, practical tool that different industries and workplaces could use to measure the leading indicators of health and safety.

They tested the Organizational Performance Metric (OPM), originating from Canada, across six large Australian employers from six different industries, including a large public hospital that included an aged-care facility.

“There's a lot of research internationally as well as in Australia in identifying leading indicators, and they're the sorts of practical and positive steps that can be taken in workplaces to keep people safe and to keep people healthy,” said lead researcher professor Helen De Cieri from Monash University’s Monash Business School.

Cieri said the team found that the tool was a simple way for workplaces to identify areas for health and safety improvement, people who are more at risk in the workplace and steps to prevent incidents from occurring.

The study also found that in workplaces with greater commitment to health, wellbeing and safety, individuals experienced fewer injuries and illness at work, which was associated with fewer claims or incidents causing time lost from work.

“We want to shift the focus of workplaces from counting the cost of injuries and illness to better work practices that prevent incidents, with more attention to OHS leadership, equipment and resources, and access to health and safety training,” Cieri said.

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